By Michelle Dalal, MD
Reliant Medical Group Pediatrics
There are many choices new parents make when a baby is on the way. As technology has progressed, some parents are choosing whether or not to bank their baby’s cord blood. This procedure can be of future use to treat some pediatric genetic, hematologic, immunologic, and oncologic disorders.
What is cord blood banking? And are there any benefits? Cord blood is the blood in a baby’s umbilical cord and placenta. This blood is special because it contains stem cells that can later be used to grow (potentially lifesaving) blood vessels, organs, and tissues for the child or someone else in need. This is collected right after birth. It is painless and safe for both the mom and infant.
Is all cord blood collected? No, this procedure is only done if the parents choose to do so and must be decided before delivery. If parents are considering this, they should speak to their pediatrician or obstetrician. They will also have to decide ahead of time whether to store their child’s blood in a private cord blood bank for later use, or donate it to a public cord blood bank for others that need it. It is important to note that banking at a private cord blood company comes at a high cost, up to $3,000 for collection/registration and up to $175 annually for continual storage.
The decision to bank cord blood should be an informed one. It is important to note that statistically speaking, the likelihood of using one’s own cord blood is less than 1 in 2500. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages storing cord blood at private banks for later personal or family use as a general “insurance policy. Rather, they encourage families to donate their newborn’s cord blood, which is normally discarded at birth, to cord blood banks (if accessible in their area) for other individuals in need. This is because most people need cells from a healthy donor for most conditions, not their own cells. One situation when cord blood collection should be considered is if a full sibling has a genetic or malignant condition that could benefit from cord blood transplantation. If a child should need a transplant in the future, there are still public banks with donated units available. For more information, visit here.
About Michelle Dalal, MD
As a mother herself, pediatrician Dr. Michelle Dalal has learned a lot from raising her two children. “You learn a lot as a parent, particularly in the infancy and toddler stage on how to deal with things,” she explains. “I think being a parent makes a big difference in terms of how you treat pediatric patients. I get a lot of questions about immunizations, I get a lot of questions about how to make sure a child’s diet remains...View profile View posts by this doctor